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312                                              On a Girdle

THAT which her slender waist confined
Shall now my joyful temples bind;
No monarch but would give his crown
His arms might do what this has done.
It was my Heaven’s extremest sphere,
The pale which held that lovely deer:
My joy, my grief, my hope, my love,
Did all within this circle move.
A narrow compass! and yet there
Dwelt all that’s good, and all that’s fair!
Give me but what this ribband bound,
Take all the rest the sun goes round!

313                                           Go, lovely Rose

     GO, lovely Rose—
Tell her that wastes her time and me,
     That now she knows,
When I resemble her to thee,
How sweet and fair she seems to be.
     Tell her that’s young,
And shuns to have her graces spied,
     That hadst thou sprung
In deserts where no men abide,
Thou must have uncommended died.
     Small is the worth
Of beauty from the light retired:
     Bid her come forth,
Suffer herself to be desired,
And not blush so to be admired.
     Then die—that she
The common fate of all things rare
     May read in thee;
How small a part of time they share
That are so wondrous sweet and fair!

314                                                 Old Age

THE seas are quiet when the winds give o’er;
So calm are we when passions are no more.
For then we know how vain it was to boast
Of fleeting things, so certain to be lost.
Clouds of affection from our younger eyes
Conceal that emptiness which age descries.

The soul’s dark cottage, batter’d and decay’d,
Lets in new light through chinks that Time hath made:
Stronger by weakness, wiser men become
As they draw near to their eternal home.
Leaving the old, both worlds at once they view
That stand upon the threshold of the new.


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